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ENG v PAK, 1st Test: Pakistan brace for England challenge

The fast bowlers will be in focus as Pakistan get ready to face England, who are on the back of a series win against West Indies. With a squad that has some potent pace bowlers, the challenge for Pakistan is to identify the best 3-4 of the lot to play the first Test.

It isn’t too different in the England camp where the pace bowlers were rotated through the series against West Indies. England are likely to retain their playing XI from the last Test against West Indies which means that James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes play alongside Dom Bess.

If Ben Stokes is fit to bowl, Archer could possibly make way for Zak Crawley, an additional batsman. The batting line-up is, otherwise, expected to remain unchanged. 

Pakistan will have questions on their team composition. With Mohammad Rizwan finding form in the warm-up games with a half-century and a century in the same game, they might ponder playing him at no.6 with Shadab Khan adding more bowling depth at no.7 while not compromising heavily on the batting.

On the last tour of England in 2018, Shadab Khan had hit three half-centuries in three Tests with one of them coming against Ireland in a one-off Test. Yasir Shah will also likely start meaning that Pakistan will have two frontline leg-spinners in a Test match. 

This will give them room to play three pacers, likely Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah and Mohammad Abbas although Sohail Khan, who picked up two five-wicket hauls in the warm-up games, could get a go instead of Abbas. 

England squad:

Joe Root (Yorkshire) Captain, James Anderson (Lancashire), Jofra Archer (Sussex), Dominic Bess (Somerset), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Rory Burns (Surrey), Jos Buttler (Lancashire), Zak Crawley (Kent), Sam Curran (Surrey), Ollie Pope (Surrey), Dom Sibley (Warwickshire), Ben Stokes (Durham), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), Mark Wood (Durham).

Reserves:

James Bracey (Gloucestershire), Ben Foakes (Surrey), Jack Leach (Somerset), Dan Lawrence (Essex).

Pakistan squad:

Azhar Ali (captain), Babar Azam, Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Imam-ul-Haq, Imran Khan Sr, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Rizwan, Naseem Shah, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Shan Masood, Sohail Khan, Usman Shinwari, Wahab Riaz, Yasir Shah

Series Fixtures

August 5-9: 1st Test; Old Trafford, Manchester

August 13-17: 2nd Test; Rose Bowl, Southampton

August 21-25: 3rd Test; Rose Bowl, Southampton

Timings and streaming

Time: All matches start at 3:30 pm (IST)

TV: Sony Six, Sony Six HD

Live Streaming: SonyLIV app

 

Rohit Sankar is a freelance cricket journalist stuck in a love-hate live-in relationship with the game. To rile him up, mention the 1999 World Cup semi-final. Rohit has been writing about cricket for well over 10 years now, and has written for a variety of news and sports outlets over this time.

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